EP 585 – The African Vincenzo

TWiM_EP585_African_Vincenzo
What keeps the Church from organizing in an area with multiple generations of would-be members?

Huge show this week, folks – 90 minutes of hot, steamy news, all for you. (And we might regret referring to anything as “hot” or “steamy” given the subject matter near the end of the episode.) Jared Gillins is here from super urbanized Idaho Falls!

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Transcript

00:00.00
Geoff Openshaw
Everybody what’s going on welcome to This Week in Mormons the premiere latter day saint podcast focused on news events other stuff I guess that really covers it I’m Jeff openshaw nice to have you Jared happy a memorial day or belated memorial day to our United States listeners we hope it was nice for you.

00:08.63
Jared
And I’m Jared gillins.

00:39.86
Geoff Openshaw
Um, how was your holiday Jared do anything like wild.

00:33.91
Jared
Nothing wild. Just ah, we got our dishwasher repaired I was really grateful to the repairmen to come out on a holiday but we’d been waiting three weeks we moved and we we have a we moved into ah a new house I mean a new old house. Um, and the dishwasher has.

00:53.20
Geoff Openshaw
Hello Hello hello.

01:11.79
Jared
And it’s brand new and it hasn’t worked since we arrived and so anyway that was very exciting to now be able to wash dishes by machine instead of by hand like the pioneers did in their running water basins you know, um that was tongue in cheek. It’s too early for jokes. Sorry it’s a.

01:25.14
Geoff Openshaw
Huh for.

01:57.40
Geoff Openshaw
Ah, did you not did you not have a dishwasher in your previous house.

01:49.49
Jared
We’re recording Tuesday morning because of the holiday we did. We did that dishwasher I kind of miss it because it played like you know sometimes you have an appliance and and I think generally they’re like East asian companies like Lg or Samsung.

02:25.40
Geoff Openshaw
And he if but Samsungs always played jingles at the end of cycles for almost anything that kind of applied.

02:26.29
Jared
Yeah, so we have an lg washer dryer and those play very short little jingles. Um, we had to just we had a Samsung ah ah, dishwasher in in our last house and it played like it seriously played a song that was a minute long and it had like 3 movements to it like.

03:05.20
Geoff Openshaw
The.

03:05.10
Jared
It was the funest thing and we kind of liked it because it was cute to give dishwasher a personality but I also kind of hated it because I never wanted to like start it running right before bedtime because I didn’t know if like None later we would be woken up by the dishwasher singing you know anyway. So no, our dishwasher now. It’s ah it’s a whirlpool and now that it works. It’s great.

03:36.22
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah. Hello.

03:44.31
Jared
Ah, anyway, so that was what what I did yesterday I waited around for a repair man and I made some really good Mac and cheese to share with Kelsey’s family um we went just had to get together at Kelsey’s sisters house and my brother in law smoked some ribs which were so delicious and he used a smoker.

04:17.88
Geoff Openshaw
So I did not think you were gonna say ribs I didn’t know where that was going very cool. So.

04:22.45
Jared
To heat and cook and flavor ribs. He did smoke some reefer. No I hope not. He’s a employee of the church. No yeah, we had some really great ribs and I made some I’m not ashamed to brag that I made some really good Mac and cheese.

04:34.16
Geoff Openshaw
For some reason I Legit thought you’d be like my brother-in-law you know smokes a Marijuana and U oh scandal.

05:05.00
Geoff Openshaw
Good man.

05:01.93
Jared
It was a combination of some nice some tillamook sharp cheddar and some manjago from ah worth it really good. Yeah I took a little patience um to get it to Mel it was it it. It took a little longer.

05:22.56
Geoff Openshaw
And I’ve never used Manchego and Mac and cheese before I yeah I had all.

05:39.27
Jared
To coax it to melt into the sauce. But once I got that sauce smooth the texture of the flavor were so good I’m sure I mean it’s it’s like it’s like the national cheese of Spain is it. Not it.

05:58.54
Geoff Openshaw
So lovely I had a lot of manchego on the mission as you might imagine. Yeah a lot of. Yeah, basically I mean there’s a lot of good cheeses in Spain but you get served that pretty frequently you get yeah ah cheese and a little charcutery is pretty common presentation before most meals.

06:12.31
Jared
Yeah, yeah.

06:23.90
Jared
For for our listeners who may not be familiar Manchego is a sheep’s milk cheese. It is most it is not. It’s not a hard cheese. It’s a semihard cheese. You know I would say it’s a little harder than your your average cheddar but not as hard as like a pecorino or anything. Yeah.

06:55.30
Geoff Openshaw
It’s it’s It’s definitely it’s slice. It’s definite. No, it’s not as hard as a pecorino but it’s sliceable like it’s a heart cheese like that. Yeah.

07:02.73
Jared
But yeah, it’s a delicious sheep’s milk cheese that has kind of a nice subtle nutty flavor. It’s it’s mild, but but also still very flavorful and I love it.

07:24.36
Geoff Openshaw
I I am of the opinion that in some ways sheep milk cheeses can in many ways be superior to cow’s milk cheese I mean acorino an actual pecorino folks if you’re state side. You might go the store and you’re goingnna see something that will just say Romano and you’re going to think that means it’s Pecorino Romano

07:27.45
Jared
Oh yeah, well I get I mentioned Pecorino like.

07:49.33
Jared
Oh right.

08:02.36
Geoff Openshaw
If it just says Romano. It’s not usually made with cow’s milk and it tastes like garbage. You need to find actual pecorino made from sheep’s milk and if you don’t embrace.

08:09.15
Jared
Yeah, and I believe Pecorino is Italian for sheep’s milk cheese. Basically so yeah, yeah, you can substitute anything that calls for like parmesan.

08:27.42
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, don’t Pecorino is legit If you don’t use it. It’s delightful I use it in so many applications.

08:36.91
Jared
Ah, Regiano or whatever like which is a cow’s milk cheese and I was also very very good if you get a good parmesan but anything that calls for that you could substitute in a pecorino and it’s the same idea. But I love pecorino it’s tasty.

09:04.58
Geoff Openshaw
Oh oh, it’s delightful I want him I’m trying to make Ah, what’s it called Kachi Pepi or something like that I’ve never made it before. Yeah I know um I haven’t done it yet. Just ah you you emulsify a bunch of butter with oil and then put a ton of Peccorinina and pepper. It’s supposed to be done. Got to go.

09:06.90
Jared
Yeah Kacha Pepe yeah

09:24.43
Jared
Yep, um, by the way trader Joe’s has a like you know it’s like ah a pirates booty type snack but it’s pecorina. It’s it’s catch you away. Peppe flavored of I can’t remember what they call it. But you know anyway, it’s it’s amazing it. It tastes like you’re eating like.

09:39.44
Geoff Openshaw
Weird.

09:55.68
Geoff Openshaw
So tell do like that.

09:56.85
Jared
Pop the popcorn version pirates Booty version of yeah I did not know that but they they have their fingers all the things.

10:07.40
Geoff Openshaw
So things I learned this weekend as well. The hershey company owns pirates booty did you know that? yeah this came from we were looking at Hershey park and then and my kit and then so in Hershey park to do the height requirements they the levels they don’t just say you know 1 2 3 whatever.

10:28.41
Jared
M.

10:46.96
Geoff Openshaw
They named them after various hershey like candy products. So there’s like Jolly rancher level of like height requirements. So my son was like cracking up because he thought this was a funny way to do it So he asked like well what else does hershey make and then we found out they own all kinds of random things like most companies do but my.

11:08.27
Jared
It’s me I didn’t even realize that they own Jolly rancher.

11:23.74
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, oh yeah, this is legit man this is this is a beautiful digression. This is wonderful.

11:19.49
Jared
Yeah, well I I was going to say after the None part of it. We should change the show to this week in cheeses and I would listen to that and that that’s right twitch. Um.

11:48.52
Geoff Openshaw
Twick or twitch twitch easy. No one’s doing on that. But.

11:50.67
Jared
Also that would resolve any issues anybody has with the name of this show if we changed it to Jesus we would lose so much of our of the yeah, the the griping that people make about anything we say.

12:05.20
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah I mean if literally we made this a show into a different program altogether it would it would would do that you mean yes and now we’ve already we’ve already lost 2 wo-thirds of our audience from our extremely bougie talk about cheese and kachi pepe. Its.

12:35.37
Jared
No I do not apologize for loving fine cheese. Oh gosh. Well then you’ve just alienated the but the last third of the listeners.

12:44.42
Geoff Openshaw
We don’t care. We don’t apologize for who we are just like the church leadership. We do not apologize for anything. Okay, that’s how we’re dealing with people. We’ll good good so it’s fun so good I’m glad you had a good. Ah. Memorial day I decided to wear out my kids we went on like a three mile hike and then took them to lunch and got ice cream and you ever been at clifton you guys ever got to Clifton when you lived here Clifff Cliftons a little village in Fairfax County it’s like in this valley with nothing and it’s like looks like ah it’s a postcard from the mid none century.

13:14.10
Jared
A nice.

13:25.67
Jared
No.

13:40.89
Jared
4

13:56.16
Geoff Openshaw
Randomly there. Yeah, it’s it’s funny that it’s just kind of isolated So did that it’s cool.

13:50.91
Jared
We love little towns like that. That’s 1 thing we miss about the East Coast yeah

14:14.10
Geoff Openshaw
News. Okay, well that just wore out the kids they were so tired. It’s delightful when your children are just completely and then we took them swimming afterwards too so they were just then they nothing in the tank pretty much It was great. Um, interesting new bit of news.

14:20.61
Jared
And they didn’t just sink to the bottom.

14:45.20
Geoff Openshaw
This week I don’t even know where to start I’m just going to go in one of the orders where I have it written right here because I love temple news as you know so um, the temple in Guam was dedicated last week I believe about David a bednar. It’s the second smallest temple in the church. It’s only 68 hundred Square feet there’s gonna be a few of these other ones that are similar to ah ego that’ll also be close to that small but this is a very small temple guam has one stake so that’s fine. It works for its size. And now there’s nothing wrong with the temple being tiny and this article by tad walsh kind of cracks me up because it’s just like basically they just say it might be this small but that’s not a limitation I’ve never felt it I never like.

15:58.49
Jared
Well and that well let’s I go ahead.

16:19.68
Geoff Openshaw
I wasn’t reading this seeing a temple with small Square footage of being like this just temple is limited in what it can accomplish I’ve never felt like that’s a thing but okay, thanks for calling it out. It’s like the bishop who asked me who asked you far too probing questions about certain things that you didn’t know existed before now now all I’m thinking about are small temples are are weak tad walsh.

16:20.39
Jared
Right.

16:43.63
Jared
No, and well and there’s the quote there was a quote from El Bednart in the article and he says we do not have small temples in the church and I remember reading that and being like well technically we do but I get his point his point is like there’s no difference in what? ah a tubble can like.

16:56.60
Geoff Openshaw
Um.

17:04.14
Geoff Openshaw
Oh yeah, that’s the other one. Yes I.

17:20.11
Jared
Provide you know or offer a member of the church as far as being a sanctuary as far as being a dedicated house of Lord as far as being a place where you could be endowed with power like it doesn’t matter the size of the temple but but big like I guess sometimes I read El Bednar very literally because he comes across that way he like likes to project himself as like a.

17:29.80
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah.

17:59.55
Jared
Here is an authoritative statement and so when I read there are no small temples of church I’m like well there are. It’s just that it doesn’t matter that they’re small I don’t know.

18:21.14
Geoff Openshaw
No I’m actually thank you for bringing that part up because I thought the exact same thing when I read it and it also kind of echoed his statements when he said like there are no lgbtq members of the church remember all that he was trying to make the point home they like we’re all just no labels.

18:33.99
Jared
Yeah, yeah, he’s kind of like shed labels and just be like we’re all children of god we’re all covenant members of the church and it’s just like but there are Lgb members who are covenant members of the church anyway.

19:04.94
Geoff Openshaw
The size and architecture of the temple are interesting but the building is not the focus what occurs in the temple as we worldily receive covenants and ordinances is what the temple is about 100% true absolutely agree that makes perfect sense but I do I think even more so with the temple I’m like I think it’s okay to say a temple’s book.

19:32.50
Jared
Ah, but.

19:42.20
Geoff Openshaw
Big or small I mean especially considering you’ve got an apostle saying this but then in the same the the same church own publications will have no problem mentioning how large and impressive the Washington Dc Temple is during its open app.

19:53.81
Jared
Right? or the Salt Lake or the Mexico City or whatever they often note this is the None largest temple that the church has built.

20:11.70
Geoff Openshaw
His yeah they always mentioned the Washington D C Temple is the tallest temple in the church which it is like there’s superlatives to go around and so it’s just kind of funny to like don’t don’t ding the little ones like who cares I don’t care that it’s small. It serves a purpose. It’s fine. It’s doing this thing it serves the needs of the members.

20:38.90
Jared
Ah I’m glad we’re having this conversation but we’re kind of burying the lead about the most interesting thing about this temple. Okay, okay.

20:51.16
Geoff Openshaw
And I I was about to get I was about to get to the lead so other than us being upset about the size questions. Um, what is interesting about this temple is they only ah and they only release this information like with the dedication. It’s designed to be not modular. It wasn’t built modularly in that sense but modular kind of in the sense that you can convert different rooms. So The temple was clearly built with um, it’s built to either either have from what I can tell you can have 2 ordinance Room. You can have an ornance room in a ceiling room or you can have 2 and 2 Basically you can flip the rooms around where. Where it can be either an ordinance room or based on the needs of those present that orinance room can be swapped out and become a ceiling room and likewise there’s this I know what they call it an ordinance room. Ah I’m just in the room.

22:13.61
Jared
Isn’t it art’t ceilings ordinances. Well but what’s interesting in this article is that they they they start out calling it an instruction room and I noticed that when I did yeah when I did the walkthrough at the new Pokcateello temple.

22:38.58
Geoff Openshaw
So that’s the better terminology actually ah instruction.

22:46.50
Jared
I Kept on like seeing signs and it says you know because they labeled each room with these big you know standy type signs and ah.

23:00.26
Geoff Openshaw
I I was going to ask you real quick when you did pocatelllo did they do what they did in Dc now where they just had signs up and you just walk through and there’s no longer organized like groups guides like Philly was okay.

23:10.47
Jared
Yeah, you just kind of followed a line through the temple and there wasn’t any kind of individual there were people stationed throughout the temple and you could ask some questions but it was basically like you mostly just kept the line moving. It was just a steady stream walk you through.

23:43.18
Geoff Openshaw
So yeah, okay I I was curious cause a couple weeks ago. Corey was on and we were talking about the dc temple did that but I wasn’t sure based on some of our other experiences whether they were doing that approach for rededicated temples. But since book tells knew that gives us some more insight there. So sorry.

23:56.11
Jared
Um, yeah, well I was just going to say what I What I found interesting was I It took me a few seeing a few of these rooms to realize what they were but I kept on seeing rooms and it said instruction room and I was like is this like a new room that we’re putting in temples Like. Have our endowment room and our ceiling room and here’s an instruction room and I’m like what’s the instruction room for and like I said after like the third one I was like oh the instruction room is an endowment room. We’re just using some altered terminology I guess and so I don’t know maybe that’s.

25:08.50
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, yeah.

25:07.55
Jared
Something we’re pushing for maybe endowment. We don’t want to overuse it because I mean it is kind of a sacred term right? It’s a scriptural term that you will be endowed with power from on high kind of a thing and so maybe to avoid overusing a term like that we say well this is where we’re instructed and then also as part of that instruction. We receive an endowment of power. Anyway I don’t know that’s neither here nor there but I thought it was interesting that it was about halfway through the article where it said an instruction room also known as an endowment room and it was like yeah interesting. This is a new trend I guess but I think that’s really cool to be able to convert and say oh today we have.

26:11.68
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, something like that. So let’s.

26:19.29
Jared
These endowments and we need this to be endow room. Oh but today we have more ceilings than we normally have so let’s we can convert this endowment room to be a ceiling room because that’s the need and that’s yeah I think that’s really cool.

26:50.72
Geoff Openshaw
It is cool and they say it’s the None temple um to do that which that was a big question. We had it I was like I mean st george like back in the day you know they just had had curtains partition set up and they could change it around but that was kind of a different situation. This temple serves. Ah.

27:03.63
Jared
M.

27:30.34
Geoff Openshaw
There’s 1 stake in Guam proper and then there’ is 1 stake in 2 districts in Micronesia but that’s the entire temple’s district’s about 9600 saints and so it’s very awesome. They can know they can flip that around as needed. Well.

27:41.77
Jared
Well I think it’s great too. I mean we’ve we’ve been talking about the coolness of the temple we talked about the the size and whether that is like relevant or not and the the like so not not not quite modularity but convertibility of the rooms which is also very cool but also just really cool is the fact that they’ve. Created a temple to serve such a small population. Ah my aunt and uncle and my and their family lived in Guam in like the mid to late eighty s my uncle was in the navy got stationed there so I’ve had passing familiarity but I had to look it up um to see exactly where it is and and like many of these.

28:45.74
Geoff Openshaw
Military.

28:56.39
Jared
Pacific nations. It’s just it’s in the middle of the pacific just looked nothing around it. So I zoomed out the map and I think at the time when my ah, auntt’s family lived. There. Their closest temple was Hong Kong and which is not close and looking at the Map. Ah they’re. Closest temple for these members is probably one of the ones in the Philippines I’m guessing oh really? Well I know might they used to go to Hong Kong for things and so I don’t know if that if that was if there was more if it was more convenient. Perhaps maybe there were more direct flights or that maybe the navy helps them in some way I don’t know.

29:45.20
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, and the and the philippines the temple of Manila would predate the one in Hong Kong yeah

30:11.70
Jared
But maybe you’re right? Maybe the manila temple is older but Hong Kong was I know it was the temple was there when they were there I want to say maybe I’m wrong anyway, my point is.

30:33.00
Geoff Openshaw
Ah, by the way. Um, before we get off this Hong Kong Temple has been closed for many years for kind a kind of a reconception ah redoing the whole thing especially because it was a multi-purpose building but they’ve moved. They’ve moved out a bunch of the mission offices and other things to a building across the street and expanding the temple itself.

30:45.71
Jared
Right.

31:10.90
Geoff Openshaw
And the process they’ve stripped it of at spire gotten rid of Moroni changed some of the exterior faciia and reliefs and things like that. Um, it quietly had an open house. They didn’t tell anybody about that already concluded I mean they’ve got very strict covid protocols in Hong Kong but I that’s.

31:29.41
Jared
They’re also probably not trying not to rile the Chinese government which is probably also very important after the whole Shanghai Temple debacle is there a softer turn for debacle. Um.

31:48.88
Geoff Openshaw
So yeah, well I’m I’m not yet ready to call it a debacle but I’m but I I get it? Yeah ah the shanghai temple question Mark um I don’t know. But yeah, it’s right? so they had they had a very had a weeklong open house in may 3000 people toured the interior.

32:04.55
Jared
Question curfuffle.

32:28.00
Geoff Openshaw
And that was it but there there was no fanfare about this I think it’s yeah like I agree with everything you said I’m just fascinated by the fact that they ah yeah.

32:26.33
Jared
Yeah, just the point I was trying to make was just like how great for the the members of v islam to not have to travel to Hong Kong or Manila or yeah, which is relatively close when you see how close they are to anything else in the pacific but very far you know it was quite a. Quite a journey to have to to go if they wanted to go to the temple and now they’ve got one. That’s really close because Guam is a tiny island like it’s not far you know anything on the island is not far from where anybody lives so you know I love that the church makes an effort to provide resources. Like this to people and that’s you know, ah back when president Hinckley and announced the None small you know, small temple yes al bedar. There’s no small temples. But um, yeah, that was part of the point he’s like we can make temples much more accessible if we build on a smaller scale. We can provide them to a whole lot more people and i. Love it that that’s been a continued focus of the church to provide remote access to remote members and that they can still have the blessings of the temple.

34:49.65
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, and ah, an ongoing trend to an an and an emerging trend and one that we’re going to see a lot more of as more templates or book.

34:51.85
Jared
So that being said, maybe this is a good segue into another story that we wanted to cover this week. There was a um article from a blog called Church Growth Lds Church growth I don’t This is the first time I.

35:27.10
Geoff Openshaw
And oh come on. You know you know Lds Church growth don’t you oh Matt Matt martinnick this guy’s a legend. It’s amazing that he’s run this for years. He’s never updated it to be anything more than a blogger page. Um, and yeah yeah Matt Martinnick is a pretty noted demographer he is. He’s a.

35:31.41
Jared
Seen it.

35:47.15
Jared
It’s classic blogger layout. Great.

35:57.91
Jared
Well.

36:06.94
Geoff Openshaw
Is pretty hardcore. This may so worthwhile blog if you’re interested in all sorts of things involving stats and whatever else about the church especially globally where he he has got contacts around the globe given him information on things I was using his website recently for example to. Look up I was trying to look at more detail on the church’s meteoric rise and collapse in Armenia which is a subject for another time but a very interesting one because the church organized a steak and then with three years disorganized the stake and about twothirs of the members quit. So yeah, weird stuff going on Armenia that’s sub there for another time though.

36:36.11
Jared
Who.

36:54.25
Jared
Wow! Interesting. Yeah well this article that you ah posted for this this week the the title of the post is the patience and faith of the lost saints of malemba nikulu.

37:15.56
Geoff Openshaw
Great blog. Everyone should check it out. He’s He’s always got good stuff there. Yeah.

37:31.47
Jared
And Melemon Luculu is a very remote area in the democratic republic of the Congo and it’s really interesting because the article the the post whether you call it on blogger. Um, you know, points out that the growth of the church in the drc has been like really big. Um, you know they’ve got just none of growth. they’ve they’ve I think they’ve announced. They’ve got None temple and they announced a None one recently right? in Dc two more.

38:35.28
Geoff Openshaw
They’ve got 2 more going up in drcs I was one in lububasium one in um and one in um, but the Cananga canunga.

38:36.85
Jared
Okay, yeah, so like you know the church obviously has a very strong presence and has ah you know for several years now in d or sea and it’s just got meteoric growth. Um, but there’s this one little really super remote area where there are people who. Have received word of the gospel and you know and you get these stories if you remember like the church did one several years ago it was great about I can’t remember the name of the guy but the the man who yeah, no, it was the it was the african guchinzo.

39:42.82
Geoff Openshaw
The viennzo vichennzoco.

39:47.23
Jared
Of you know a man who received a copy of the book of mormon and started preaching from it and this is back in the 70 s before ah the priest in temple ban had been lifted. Um and he but he basically converted a ton of people and so that when the church started reaching out more actively into Africa after the 1978 revelation. Um, like there were just none of people who were ready to go and so a similar thing is happening in this little lost area of Drc where there’s a ton of people who are like basically more or less converted to ah the restored gospel of the church of Jesus Christ the latterday saints but the church has no official presence there. And so you have this interesting situation where there are people who are learning doctrine and being converted spiritually and like ready to receive but then also since there’s no official presence. You’re getting some weird practices like polygamy and things like that here and there and they keep reaching out. And the church has kind of basically said you know, stay faithful. Keep doing what you’re doing. We’re not ready to go there yet and so the question I guess and and there’s a video that he ah linked to or embedded along with his little article and I I didn’t get a chance to see it I don’t think you did either Jeff.

42:21.56
Geoff Openshaw
I haven’t watched it all yet. No.

42:18.95
Jared
Yeah, so but I mean so they might explain a little bit more but I think basically the issue is just like it’s so remote that even the church is having trouble like figuring out how it’s going to get out there and establish lines of contact to maintain an official presence of the church there. So it’s it’s a weird and interesting problem and and so it’s kind of an interesting contrast to what we just talked about how the church is like hey Guam is like the tiniest little yeah us territory there is in the middle of the pacific ocean with nothing around it. But there’s a stake there and we want the members there to have a temple and we you know we serve these remote areas as well as we can and on the other side. There’s this area where you could have probably more members ready to go than currently live on all of Guam. Ah, but the church is like we don’t have the resources. To reach out to this area at this point so I don’t I I wish we knew a little bit more about why? why? The church isn’t able um to establish a presence there but it was an interesting little article. Do you have any more insight or thought on that.

44:29.40
Geoff Openshaw
Just a couple and and it it really drives the point home. How important infrastructure is and and developed areas. Guam’s not very big. Guam’s been controlled by the United States since the spanish american war it’s got a huge military presence. It’s a developed area. It’s not hard to like put in a temple there in that sense.

44:40.81
Jared
Right.

45:06.62
Geoff Openshaw
And support the members therein um melemba niullu is not an area I know or any by any means it’s kind of south like a lot of the Drc Southeast DRc the democratic republic of the Congo is a very very large country geographically and both North North to south and east to west but it’s still and if you looked at a map. You would see. It’s not like far off of some of the main highways that go through the country but I imagine some of those highways like in this case, the n 33 that cuts right past it are you know they’re not in the best shape we’re not talking not driving on european grade you know auto vias or like that. Yeah.

46:05.57
Jared
Right? Like single lane dirt road type stuff that that maybe often washes out in a rain or something like that.

46:24.60
Geoff Openshaw
Ah, and so the nearest member the nearest church unit is in Kamina but by car even on this kind of main road. It’s none and that’s over 4 hours of drive time to get there. So yeah, that makes them more remote. Even if you look at a map and it seems like there’s a lot of. Civilization so to speak larger metro areas clustered not crazy far away it matters in this part of the world I mean obviously there could be saints who could be far more isolated if you’ were up in like northern drc for example and like kissing ghani or somewhere up there. Yeah, like there’s nothing out there. But um.

47:15.47
Jared
Who.

47:31.66
Geoff Openshaw
They are comparatively isolated even though they’re sort of on that main southern swing of where the greater population centers are and so you know the church can in some ways only do so much I don’t know what the reasons are why they don’t invest in 1 area but it might be. It’s tough. It makes me wish that the church had the resources to just go into Africa and be like let us build you roads and infrastructure instead of China.

48:00.11
Jared
Right.

48:11.38
Geoff Openshaw
Right? Because you’ve got this goes more into geopolitics. But China is heavily involved in sub-saharan africa and building all kinds of roads and ports and all sorts of things hoping look up the belt and road initiative. It is a fun little project for China china does a lot in Africa.

48:23.85
Jared
I didn’t know that.

48:50.20
Geoff Openshaw
With the hope that african nations will have its back when all is said and done and we could go on I could go on and on about how the us is like asleep at the wheel when it comes to investing in Africa but that’s another thing. Um, yeah, it kind of is it’s a little disappointing because these are these are rising economies rising people. Ah you know.

49:00.41
Jared
That’s been the story for decades. So yeah.

49:27.32
Geoff Openshaw
And increasingly educated populace. What a wonderful What wonderful individuals to.

49:22.39
Jared
So the Chinese government isn’t just looking to establish trade relations but also potentially political allies. Yeah yeah.

49:43.20
Geoff Openshaw
It? Well there of course of course that’s what everyone’s doing. You know it’s the great game. That’s what we’re doing. So if you have the church doing this instead. It would take out the politics of it. It would just be like hey. Nice Church. Thanks for building helping us build roads I mean obviously our hope would be now we’re all going to wear our latter-day Saint helping hands vests while we do this. So that you understand the good work we are doing.

50:13.53
Jared
Well I was going to say I mean I know the church has invested a lot in a lot of African infrastructure. But from what what I’ve seen. It’s been more like digging wells and in in it’s more about sanitation and health type initiatives like with water etc.

50:33.44
Geoff Openshaw
We do a lot of projects for sure. Yeah.

50:48.95
Jared
So does the church Also do road building I haven’t seen that kind of infrastructure.

51:01.28
Geoff Openshaw
I Doubt oh well I mean and I’m being tongue in cheek because the absolute reason why is because building Roads is very expensive, not that building wells and things is not but that can be a whole much more different animal I mean you can be talking a road alone in like a rural area could cost.

51:07.33
Jared
Oh sure, it’s a different animal right.

51:41.80
Geoff Openshaw
2 $3000000 per mile easily. So so you’re throwing that into one hundred odd miles if you’re talking the number of kilometers here and yeah is the church going to just come out and drop $500000000 to build a nice road between Kamina and meliba niullu I don’t know if it’s going to do that. Um.

51:33.61
Jared
Right.

52:02.51
Jared
Yes I don’t know was that an actual answer I was like no that was a rhetorical question Jared ah thing it ding it.

52:17.50
Geoff Openshaw
Yes I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know so it does but it does highlight an interesting problem and I’m sure it’s things that the church leadership’s conscious of like I’m sure they’re aware of these saints and these these opportunities there but they just don’t feel like maybe it would be a bad faith move to.

52:30.99
Jared
Sure.

52:53.36
Geoff Openshaw
Send in the the resources and organize them with the the concern that they can’t formally support them once they are made more official in that sense that makes it even more complicated but I don’t know you know.

53:06.13
Jared
Well also I mean and it’s None thing to say like okay here’s the place that obviously you know these people have been walking dozens of miles back and forth each state to get water and you know let’s sink a well here and like that’s None thing but then when you start building roads then you might it might become more. A thing where then like these saints in like remote area of Brazil are is like wait a minute. Why are you building them a road when we could use a road you know like yeah you open a new floodgate of like what is the church’s role and what are they willing to do as far you know along these lines. So yeah.

53:57.94
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, yeah, exactly it’s.

54:21.76
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, yeah, well we’ll come back to some of that some demographic things in a few let’s move now though to Salt Lake city everyone land of enchantment as they call. That’s what it says on the license plates right? Utah land of enchantment. Yes, yes, no no I’m pretty sure it’s Utah.

54:36.27
Jared
Know I think that’s New Mexico ah so um, well yeah, well the license plates classically say greatest snow on earth but now so I’ve I make the youth the Idaho Utah drive a lot these days. Um.

54:58.48
Geoff Openshaw
Utah says the powder is great.

55:12.97
Jared
And the big sign that they have is you crossover from Idaho and to Utah it says life elevated and I think that’s a pretty good. That’s a pretty good state slogan as far as state slogans go.

55:24.10
Geoff Openshaw
And life elevated. Yeah.

55:35.72
Geoff Openshaw
Not bad. Um, did they ever follow through years ago we talked out they were making a new license plate and it looked like the underside of a pioneer wagon. It was a strong.

55:41.23
Jared
Yeah, we I mean I think I was actually on the show where we talked about that and we were like but I don’t know I haven’t seen it I haven’t seen it.

55:58.94
Geoff Openshaw
I don’t know if you were recall all right? So um, this is this is latter day state related and kind of an interesting way I have a lot of funny questions about this I guess in a world where Gary E Stevenson can still be allowed to sit on the board of the company. He founded. Which which by the way you know he’s not on anymore. They did a corporate restructuring after having a bunch of ah they they delayed the ipo and restructured and booted Stevenson from the board from um, his pelet on competitor. Yeah yeah.

56:26.23
Jared
Interesting.

56:43.70
Jared
Huh so I I was on that podcast episode 2 and we talked about that story I didn’t realize I didn’t know about the followup that’s really interesting that result all of our any of us who had questions about that those questions are now moot. So it’s kind of nice.

56:59.80
Geoff Openshaw
So yeah, so that’s been an interesting little mess I think even he more or less he could He still is a shareholder and stuff so anyway, but but kind of along the same line of like here’s an apostle just going to kind of prop up.

57:14.25
Jared
Sure.

57:34.46
Geoff Openshaw
Private industry for no good reason even though I think we can all we can all be happy about it. it’s it’s elder ukdorff at the airport. It’s planes. It’s Germany. It’s all the stuff we love about him. Ah, it’s not no good reason but at the same time but at the same time you could argue like.

57:46.30
Jared
It’s good say it’s not no good reason. He he’s invested in this.

58:06.32
Geoff Openshaw
Just like you cop with elder Stevenson like is this a thing that’s relevant in his life anymore like a fit like officially like what is the benefit to the church. It’s fine. It’s fine. This is just you know we’ we’re we’re parsing hairs here so splitting hairs is the phrase. Sorry um. So he went to the airport because they just opened up with under luftansza. Well it’ sort of their subcarrier though, right? It’s not luftansza proper. Um I think I misspoke on that anyway, a subsidi euro wings. Yes, which is a subsidiary of luftanso. Um. Opened up I think twice weekly flights from Frankfurt to Salt Lake city international airport so who better to have on hand for the great celebration that this is inaugural flights are a fun thing and the aviation community by the way. It’s like a real thing with big enthusiasts like to go to like the None flight. Of these sorts of things because there’s always a party at the gate There’s there’s a lot of fanfare going on these. They have trinkets they have special whether it’s shirts or plaques or things people get for being on the None flight that ever did this so this is a big deal in the aviation world and why not get everyone’s favorite. aviator dider f ukdorf to show up. And just kind of shares excitement about having nonstop flights between Germany and Salt Lake City which is cool I mean it’s great and he spoke about but the thing that he stressed a lot. This is good and his role as an apostle as he said like look this is great. Essentially because it means people might come to the United States and they will transit either through Salt Lake city or come to Salt Lake city to go and actually stop here and to get somewhere else and it will give them more opportunity to like meet members of the church and he said you know he likened it like just as it’s great for church members to travel to Europe and see what life is like for europeans. Understand them better. It’s great for europeans to have an opportunity to visit this side of the united part of the United States the international travel is a tool to communicate with the world and then we have ah this wonderful part. He says with travelers from abroad may come to this part of the country to access renowned national parks. They stay in Salt Lake city where they connect with many. Who may be latter-day saints and here’s the quote and they might find out the mormons are really good. People are really real people. They’re nice people. They’re not bad in this way communication and the reduction of biases negative biases can be overcome a wonderful quote but None that also makes me laugh because here you have who is now a senior Apostle. Actually calling us mormons again, four years later on the record and I have to wonder if there’s ever a followup in the upper echelons of church leadership after this or is he doing it deliberately is what are the inner workings of the apostles does this telling us that elder ukdorffin has never agreed with the the.

01:03:15.74
Geoff Openshaw
Get rid of Mormon campaign and this is one of his chances to vent about it. So many things we could get into.

01:03:10.23
Jared
I think that I think you may be reading into it a little heavily I think probably it’s just something that popped out of his mouth and he was just like I guess I said what I said yeah I think it’s you know I mean I know I get what you’re saying about how it’s sort of like.

01:03:38.68
Geoff Openshaw
Ah, no, it’s just funny. There’s just 5

01:03:47.55
Jared
There’s a little bit of like shilling for his former employer kind of a thing. Maybe you could read it that way. But I think it’s just I think he’s just excited dude the guys grew up in Germany and he sees now this connection between his new home with his old home and he’s excited. He wants to talk about it. Um I mean I was thinking like.

01:04:22.32
Geoff Openshaw
I know I’m just fantastic.

01:04:25.90
Jared
You know if there was like a new a sella whatever train a high speed train between Seattle and Eastern Idaho I’d be telling everybody about I’d be like did you hear about this. This is so cool I can go home in like a few hours because I can hop on this high-speed train I mean regardless of my role I’d would be like.

01:05:09.34
Geoff Openshaw
I Know it’s cool. So now we need to do.

01:05:00.79
Jared
I Want everyone to know about this cool new thing that like connects my old home to my new home and like I don’t know Obviously I’m not an apostle so that my role is quite different. You know and so I there’s no inappropriate context for me to like talk about people talk to people about this. But I think he’s just excited and he’s an aviator too and it’s just just. It falls into so many of his personal interests that he’s just like I’m going to make a statement about this.

01:05:50.92
Geoff Openshaw
For I know it’s great I hope now that they they open up a direct route between Salt Lake City and somewhere in Brazil and then we get under suaras to show up as well and this could be a growing.

01:06:04.83
Jared
That’s right and then he’ll be like let me tell you about this new airline route that I’m really excited about.

01:06:20.42
Geoff Openshaw
I I mean if you remember there was ah there was that stretch there when they were doing delta was doing nonstops to Paris I think they gave up on it from Salt Lake City that was a big deal because Salt Lake city Salt Lake city international because most the international flights are mostly to Canada maybe some to Mexico.

01:06:34.23
Jared
That’s a long flight.

01:06:46.50
Jared
That would be like an 8 hour nonstop flight between Paris and and Salt Lake at least 8 hours that that’d be a long time to sit to go get some camembert. This is all about cheese people. This is what we’re doing now. This is our new theme.

01:06:57.10
Geoff Openshaw
But.

01:07:09.20
Geoff Openshaw
Oh be a I like yeah for sure be all. There we go.

01:07:33.10
Geoff Openshaw
Ah I’m done I’m going off.

01:07:26.43
Jared
Jeff’s on on board. Okay, ah so so um, just this isn’t a great segue who knows but like just as we’re talking about ah apostles giving press conferences and [email protected] and do a q and a. This is from the church newsroom. Um, and what was really interesting about this ah to me and this is something that the article pointed out is that the last ah senior member of church leadership to sit down and speak with the National Press Club was ah president Hinkley. You know and if those of us who remember who were ah alive and actively watching such things at the time can remember president enkley did a lot to open up um communication between church leadership and the press and he famously appeared on 60 minutes he was on Larry King live

01:09:24.47
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, it was very media. They’re very media savvy.

01:09:16.39
Jared
Couple of times. Um he and he very media savvy and it was just really interesting because like the church before that not that they were media shy but it was more. You know when when the church popped up in like national news. It was a little bit more of a novelty for whatever reason it wasn’t a big priority to be um, you know, reaching out and having that kind of a Pr media presence and president inkley made it a priority and it was a really interesting move and. And and I think from what I remember from these interactions. It was a really positive thing. He was able to speak up and make more people aware of what we believe and what who the latter state Latterday Saint people are etc anyway, so yeah, and now we have elder benar kind of following suit many years later and having a. Q and a press conference with the national press club talking about the church and trying to help them understand I guess the the main thrust of this article from the church Newsroom or the newsroom ah was just. Talking about sort of like our humanitarian efforts and what we do to try and help the world and bless the world but there was a q and a as well where they talked about all sorts of things from race relations to the lgbtq community. They talked about the dc temple they talked about church growth in Africa I mean it was just. Every everything under the sun as far as what’s going on with the church these days and it’s an interesting. You know it’s good. It’s good little blurb to read about from church newsroom and yeah.

01:12:18.20
Geoff Openshaw
I Liked a a little quip when they asked them about like the the classic question church has substantial reserves lot of resources available to it should it be doing more and before going into a.

01:12:30.59
Jared
Oh.

01:12:55.72
Geoff Openshaw
A genuine response to that elder benmark kind of says like well I just want to know like if you’ve looked at the stock market recently because he’s like I don’t know if that he’s like I don’t think it’s ah I think it’s a 0 anymore which is kind of not yeah yeah, some of this is in the video. This is not the kind of stuff.

01:13:05.11
Jared
Did he see like that that wasn’t in the did you watch the the video feed is like I didn’t see that in the okay.

01:13:30.66
Geoff Openshaw
Especially not the church news or the newsroom is going to report on like so I mean he said so his actual response so he says people want to bang on the church and say well you’ve got all that money in reserve he said yeah and it’s a good idea for people to follow that example, read in the old testament about 7 years of famine and 7 years of plenty. It’s a good idea to prepare.

01:13:29.53
Jared
That’s kind of funny.

01:13:44.25
Jared
Yeah.

01:14:06.26
Geoff Openshaw
Ah, these undertakings that I’ve described are resource consuming not resource Generating. He’s talking about all the other things. The church does and a lot of people depend on the resource that we provide and if things are different in the future than they are now we think it’s provident and wise to prepare to maintain that kind of support in an uncertain economic environment I agree with all of that. But I Still don’t understand if if. 2020 was like not the time I don’t understand what when was I mean I know things could be a lot more calamitous than than it was during the first year of Covid but I still find it curious that we’re saying we’re hold on on to this for a very bad time and 2020 was the worst time in a very very long time.

01:14:48.57
Jared
Yeah.

01:15:03.69
Jared
Well I’m going back to the point that you know the the tongue in cheek joke about like the way have you seen the stock market. It might not be a 0 anymore like that’s one of the points that often comes into my mind when people make that argument that like well when things get really bad at the church is going to be glad that they have all this money i’ like well when things get really bad. They probably won’t have that money because the the stock market’s going to like it’s all it’s all the the money you know that they have it’s all invested and so it’s like it’s not like they have a hundred billion dollars just sitting in. Ah you know gold bars in a safe like they they have.

01:15:51.46
Geoff Openshaw
And that too.

01:16:15.53
Jared
Invested in things and so it’s like well when things get really bad. We’re going to need it and like well when things get really bad. It might be worth a tenth of of what it’s worth right Now. So I don’t know it’s just I don’t It’s It’s not one of these.. It’s not a thing that gives me big hangups like it does some people but I do feel like all of the. Answers and the discussion around it from Official Channels is never quite satisfying to me because I’m like okay I hear that but I don’t know it’s just I don’t I don’t have good answers and I don’t but also like I said I don’t have like a huge beef with it. Um, like some do. So I don’t know.

01:17:29.28
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, yeah, it’s interesting. The q and a was cool. Um, the church has its own published version of it which is not the feed I initially watched so I don’t know if they’ve I actually don’t know if they’ve edited that it’s fun me to see the thumbnail because you can see one Willard Mitt Romney sitting just 2 seats over from where over bedar standing just up there on the stage.

01:17:24.65
Jared
And.

01:17:49.43
Jared
No.

01:18:08.24
Geoff Openshaw
Um, only that cause I don’t know if they edited out anything that might have been asked of him elsewhere because like you said they asked him very much about Lgbt things they said that can women be leaders and he was just like no to Tder Bed Nurse’s credit. Of course he was very forthright like we followed the pattern from the original church and those positions were held by men and that’s all I said about it.

01:18:29.71
Jared
Which is which is also debatable. There are references to female apostles in the new testament. So you know whatever.

01:18:47.54
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah I mean he doesn’t he doesn’t elaborate. Ah, you could argue in some cases he gives almost Politician type answers to some things like what do you do for transgender members and he basically just says like we love them and want them here without addressing the issue.

01:19:06.50
Jared
But he didn’t even say it that strongly it was sort of like this vague answer about loving everybody. Yeah.

01:19:26.88
Geoff Openshaw
He says he said we welcome all and strive to love them now I use the word strive because we don’t do that perfectly and so people have stereotypes they have misconceptions they have biases and they have prejudices. We strive to love everybody.

01:19:43.91
Jared
I like I mean and and really as far as non answersers go that’s a pretty good one. Um I do because I and especially coming from Elder Bednar just and this is just maybe my personal bias about some of the things he says like I don’t you don’t really see him as one of the people who’s like.

01:20:02.68
Geoff Openshaw
It to be.

01:20:22.89
Jared
Acknowledging the shortcomings of leadership or the saints as a whole and to acknowledge like we don’t love perfectly. We often fall you know you know to stereotypes prejudices etc like I found that refreshing and I and I appreciated that. So.

01:20:32.76
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah.

01:21:00.20
Geoff Openshaw
Um, one of the the questions I really did like now that I’m kind of looking through these is we’re talking. Um, he said they asked him many church leaders including you have deep business administration backgrounds. What are some of the what are some of the advantages of so much business acumen at the church’s highest levels.

01:21:11.33
Jared
Yeah, what is the benefit.

01:21:33.64
Geoff Openshaw
I thought he was pretty candid here though he said like I’ve tried really hard not to let my academic training influence. What I do as an apostle the lord Jesus Christ and I remember watching this segment. There were some kind of offhanded comments. He had made throughout basically saying like for me like I have to remember to like divorce myself from David Bednard the academic and the apostle.

01:21:56.87
Jared
Ah.

01:22:12.34
Geoff Openshaw
Like obviously stuff still gets filtered through my lens and my understanding and who I am um but I’m still striving to be an apostle first and foremost. But I like that he stressed that like he too has like a weakness. He has a natural ability to want to look through things a certain way and he has to remind himself to do it differently? yeah.

01:22:31.41
Jared
Of course and I mean that’s the thing you know and we love to pull out the the reference about like how you know things can be corrupted because like the philosophies of man get mingled with scriptures and people like to use that as like a way to condemn people who are conflating. Their political beliefs with or whatever with you know with the doctrine without recognizing that they’re doing the same thing they conflating their own political beliefs. You know it’s just like well you know you’re conflating political beliefs that I don’t agree with with the gospel anyway, my point is. Ah, when we when we acknowledge that you know the philosophies of man can be mingled with scripture what we don’t often recognize is that that goes all the way up. This isn’t just like ah a tool of satan it’s it’s just a fact of the world that all of us have our own lens whether you’re Jared Gillens the lowly you know. Non entity of of like church leadership or whether you’re David a bednar or wresell Nelson every single person approaches. The gospel of Jesus Christ like you said through like a filter of like their their experiences their education their you know their political beliefs. They’re you know, just. And you know there’s so many things that give us ah a perspective that gives us our own little slanted or tainted or whatever you want to say take on the gospel nobody has a pure and perfect understanding of god’s will. All of us are approaching it and and and so anyway, yeah, like I said it’ss refreshing again to hear some high in church leadership and especially someone like El Bednar acknowledge like yeah I have my biases and I have the the lens of my academic training etc and I’m doing my very best not to have that he doesn’t say like. And as an apostle of Jesus Christ I perfectly eschew you those things he acknowledges? No, it’s it’s a thing that I have to work on and.

01:26:13.46
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, he says I do not take my academic background and experience and impose that on the church I let the doctrine of Christ influence. How I see things. So certainly there are practical advantages referring to like his academic professional training. There’s practical advantages in knowing about how organizations run and budgeting and so forth.

01:26:25.90
Jared
Ah.

01:26:47.30
Geoff Openshaw
But I really view that a secondary I try to view what we do and the mission we fulfill through the lines of the gospel in Jesus Christ so good q and a we’re checking out.

01:26:49.31
Jared
Yeah that’s hard I remember when I was on ah a multi-sttake committee when I was single I was on a multi-stake committee that was supposed to be you know helping outreach for all ysa is like in an None stake area and we had and I was I was a chair of this committee and. And the stake that I was in that we were in back in that day. Jeff was ah it was the Mountain Vernon stake in Virginia and it was by far the highest concentration of Ysa’s in that None stake region and so the high counselor who was advisory to our committee came from that stake you know and. Anyway, so I and I knew him fairly well I ended up being in this same award as him when I got married but I remember being a little resistant because this man had a very heavy like business background in his education and his professional experience and he. You know he had an advisory role but he kept on approaching me who was technically I was technically the head of this committee I was in charge I had a co-chair the 2 of us were in charge and he really wanted to impose some practices and underlying things that were based out of his business experience and make. Some certain aspects of this committee run more businesslike and I remember being really resistant to that because I was like I don’t feel like the way I understand this calling and the way we are to run this committee I don’t like. The businessification I felt I don’t I can’t remember all of my beefs but I remember I I kind of had to have some conversations with this man and and push back a little bit because I was like I understand that like to you from your perspective and your experience this is the best way to administer this part of the church and as like but to me. That’s not my background and I don’t want to incorporate those practices or those principles and there was a lot of back and forth and we we never like there was never any hostility whenever thought about it but it just gave me that insight of like we approach things differently based on our experience in our education and maybe if. You know that brother that high counselor if he had been running the committee he would have done that and it would have been successful in its own way. But I and my co-chair were running the committee and we I was like no we were going to do it this way and anyway that’s just yeah little personal insight into what other bedar is talking about. Yeah.

01:31:29.68
Geoff Openshaw
No I appreciate it pivoting real quick and interesting pivot. Interesting article here over it by common consent by Eric Hackenburger an austrian who apparently served his mission in Barcelona Spain we did not overlap this person does not ring her bell to me but Lo and behold.

01:31:31.55
Jared
Pivot.

01:32:08.52
Geoff Openshaw
Fars unite um he studied peace buildinging at b whyu Hawaii I just like that you can apparently get a degree in peacebuilding bi Hawaii is awesome. Article is called Nephi Alma Batman Superman the the crux of it essentially he says I could tell you the exact moment I stopped liking Nephi it was when the church released the book of mormon videos. So on the upside that means he only start stopped like a nephi in the past couple of years so this didn’t come from the scriptures. He only stopped liking nephi a handful of years ago um his argument is that laman and lemuel are more relatable in the book of mormon videos and their response like their response to leheil in jerusalem was human Nephi’s response as he describes it was that of an unfeeling robot. Um, he says most people I talked to during that period of time about the videos felt the same. We all felt a little bit more like laman and Lemuel than like Nephi and so he says there’s kind of the problem Nephi and his perfectionism becomes unrelatable his youthful zeal borders on fanaticism his treatment of his brothers lacks empathy. or or or I like to like this or at least Vince’s an inability to read the room um that he argues that Nephi gets stale over time and then he compares that to someone like Alma the younger who most people like quite a bit. Obviously this is purely anec. It’s anecdotal. We’re making a lot of assumptions right? but. People like relate to Alma the younger and this illustrates the Superman Problem it’s the idea that Nephi is like Superman and the creators of Superman ran into an issue because Superman was too strong. He was um, like you couldn’t beat him. He was invincible so there was no drama like there was he was unrelatable. He was just boring. He was Superman. Batman on the other hand was different because he was still a human. He had a lot of expensive toys and ability. But he was a vulnerable human being without any superpowers who could be hurt like anybody else and so he feels that Alma is relatable Allah Batman because Alma. Shows us his weaknesses shows us his mistakes tells us about his darker moments his sins his sorrows his fears. Um alma uses that of course to even teach his own sons and so like we relate more to alma because Alma is somebody where we see his journey from sinner to someone who’s found joy in Christ. And then he even says like he has his own personal memories that he says you know church leaders in general don’t really talk about like their own vulnerability but some do and for him that’s been more impactful. He said links to his marlin kash somebody he means Jensen um. But when old Fredy talked about the story when old friends came to visit he grew impatient hoping they would leave soon so he could get about riding his talk or elder Holland yeah yeah, or elder Holland teaching telling us a story about how he lost his temper with his son.

01:36:48.21
Jared
His talk about like loving kindness or something that yeah.

01:37:15.64
Geoff Openshaw
Elder Ukdorf sharing a journey about how when he rides bikes he gets competitive and his wife reminds him. It’s about the journey not about like beating his wife in a bike race for example and elder ukdorf who we’ve spoken about recently is kind of very open about shortcomings and things like that. So lots here to dissect and I think there’s plenty to agree with.

01:37:20.50
Jared
Yeah.

01:37:52.30
Geoff Openshaw
Disagree with this idea of is is Nephi unrelatable in that sense and and the 1 thing I want to lead off with this. We have to remember the way the book of mormon was created of course right? like Nephi controlled a lot more of his narrative. Overall, even though mormon put things together than even say it then.

01:38:15.95
Jared
He didn’t yeah he didn’t abridge the small plates at all. He just stuck in what Nephi wrote. So.

01:38:27.24
Geoff Openshaw
Alma the younger did and. Ah, he’s stuck in what Nephi wrote and then he abridged stuff later on and so we don’t know if Alma the younger was also ever writing similar things or it’s it’s all filtered through mormon’s lens and we have to remember that as well. But I could kind of see that argument I know there’s Nephi’s lament for example you know we read that in the scriptures that’s. Lacking of course but he talks about his fallen nature before god but you can’t read a lot of the passages in scripture and see how Nephi is just all the time like basically like I’m doing the right thing. What’s wrong with my brothers. Why won’t they do the right thing like and that’s kind of like it’s a very black and white relationship between Nephi and Laman and lemuel at least it seems that way.

01:39:37.15
Jared
Yeah, but so I I I would recommend to any of our listeners. Um, a really good book by Grant Hardy called understanding the book of mormon and it’s written. It’s an academic book. It’s I think it’s like Harvard University press whatever it is. It’s an academic press that has published the book and he wrote it to a like. You know he wrote it to a letterday saint but he’s trying to write it to everybody like if you’re interested in the book. Mormon here’s it, you know and he wrote this book understanding the book of mormon and an introduction and he goes really deep deep into a lot of textual analysis and and trying to read the book of mormon and taking it. At its word that it is what it is right that it’s these flawed people writing these accounts and seeing their voices. Ah and how you know and and understanding that there are very different voices you know and he he concentrates on 3 main narrators first being Nephi the second being mormon and the none being Moroni anyway.

01:41:05.10
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah.

01:41:26.93
Jared
Reading that actually helped me um, understand Nephi I think in a better way and again like you have to start from the position that you know to believe the book of mormon is what it says it is and and we one of our articles of faith is that we believe the book of mormon to be the word of god and obviously you know that that is a tenet of of something that as. You know if you’re latter-day saint with a mainstream testimony you believe that but you also need to believe that Nephi is who he says he is and that mormon is who he says he is and that they are these really deeply flawed people because all of us are deeply flawed right? So anyway, my point is you can read Nephi and and read at very surface level that you know like I’m this. Kid who’s large in stature and I’m super obedient to my father and I’m so good at like listening to and obeying the lord and you know hearing the spirit but speak to me etc. But also you can read it. You know if you read it and take him at his word. You do see the flaws right? and and he acknowledges those flaws in none Nephi 4 as you acknowledge the whole the psalm of Nephi. But really I think there’s more than that like you can read this and understand like this is a really flawed person who probably feels really self-conscious about some of the decisions that he made such as having to kill laban. Having to leave his brothers and abandon his family when his father put him in charge. You know on his deathbed. It’s to do things like that and and those and I think those insecurities come out and you you read Nephi in that light and you realize yeah he talks big but there’s like there’s like a real. Like self-consciousness underlying all of his writing that like he’s trying to like prove to us or maybe even just prove to himself like no no no no I did it right? I did it right? I did it the best that I could anyway. So I think to me that’s helped ah because I have noticed that as well. Sometimes you read Nephi and you’re like oh come on if I we get it. You’re super righteous. You’re better than your brothers. But I I think and just from my experience of reading and now rereading with that lens I think Nephi knows very keenly what his weaknesses are. And he’s trying his best to say like I did my very best to be a good example and to be a good leader to be a good king to my people even though I didn’t want to be that and to be a good prophet even though that was hard and to be a good to to follow my father’s footsstep upsteps even though that was impossible and to like be a good brother to my brothers even though they made it so hard. You know anyway. I just think there are better or at least different ways to read him and not come away with the whole like oh he’s got the Superman problem I I totally relate to the author of that that blog post. But I think like I said I think there’s a that. That’s not the only way to read it.

01:46:50.58
Geoff Openshaw
No I think the other thing to bear in mind is even if one has a hero’s view of oneself that also is a demonstration of human weakness that we can even we can even learn from right and that’s okay.

01:46:58.17
Jared
Exactly totally yeah that that his if yeah, even if you think oh yeah, he’s so full of himself that in it itself shows that Nephi is flawed because he’s too full of himself. Yeah.

01:47:25.70
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, and we all have floodts and like I think about like it’s it’s it’s not to argue that the only effective missionaries are ones who had gone down the path of Paul or Alma the younger or the sons of mosiah that you have to have been full blown oppositional to the church and to the saints. In order to learn a valuable lesson and then be able to share that message with people accordingly. That’s ah, that’s not the only the only way to do it. You can have plenty of nephis like in the mission field who are even outside of that but who can be very extremely faithful people who didn’t have never wandered who haven’t deviated and that isn’t. Somehow mean you’re like not going to be able to have the spirit with you or be able to make valid points and and and preach a ah resonant Gospel message to others just because you haven’t perhaps sinned in the same way and like you said Nephi doesn’t focus on his own sins. Whatever they might have been. Joseph Smith also didn’t focus on his own sins. You know he mentioned he got into some foibles somewhere in between the None vision and actually getting the plates you know teenage dumbness whatever that might have been um but everyone’s in a position to teach and learn in different ways. So I thought it was kind of a fun article was a good way to.

01:49:41.50
Jared
Yeah I think that was really good. So um, moving on this is a really interesting also just kind of kind of interesting ah personal view of the church and a perspective on.

01:49:51.26
Geoff Openshaw
Turn things on their head a little bit and look different. Yeah, it’s fun.

01:50:16.69
Jared
And I guess on how the church is portrayed in popular culture. There’s this ah dere news article. It was an op ed by Hannah Syriaiac and the headline is um latterday saints should be depicted in more than just disturbing true crime shows hollywood.

01:50:53.80
Geoff Openshaw
I Like this? oh it’s Evil Hollywood Well hollywood.

01:50:51.81
Jared
Hasn’t gotten the memo is this I know so so so the the main thrust of this article actually really resonated with me and I agreed with especially since so the main thing that kind of inspired this apparently is the the new show or movie that’s being made about. Joyce Mckinney who is being described by the filmmaker as an anti heroroine. Um, and they’re making it so this is a movie about a true story that happened recently and it was covered on this podcast. Actually I think mul.

01:51:47.58
Geoff Openshaw
Oh boy? Yes, yes.

01:52:03.94
Geoff Openshaw
Well, the story the story didn’t happen recently. It’s the old the old mormon manacle story of the 80 s a missionary. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

01:52:04.83
Jared
Sorry, the 80 s but but like it’s it’s been talked about more recently. Um, and yeah, it’s been covered extensively on this podcast. But this woman Joyce Mckinney allegedly kidnapped an lds missionary named Kirk Anderson and and raped him like had sexual relations with him against his. Will um and you know and so it’s it’s so it’s funny to have this british filmmaker being like oh what a funny little they’re making like a kind of a dark comedy I guess about this about this delightful antiheroine who raped a man. Um, so like. And so like as she talked about this and then as she kind of goes into more of like so there’s also the recent docuseries murder among the mormons and then there’s the ah you know the series on hulu now under the banner of heaven and now this this um movie that’s being made is called sinner versus saints. Ah, she talks about other.

01:54:01.96
Geoff Openshaw
Oh then she said Megan Huntsman strangling her children in pleasant grove is now being optioned by netflix.

01:54:02.65
Jared
Right? And so all of these things that are being are prominently featuring Lds people are all very negative stories. True crime stories and so like you know as I was reading through this I was like that’s a good point like why. You know why is that and then you know of course you get the the docu seriesies about my mom’s cousin the the Lula Rich you know and so like which also was not a true crime series but also not the best light to be shed on ah on a member of the church act or or otherwise um so.

01:55:05.20
Geoff Openshaw
No, not so much. That’s.

01:55:10.79
Jared
And then she points out. There’s other good positive you know depictions of lds culture or history. There’s ah ah, but all of these other things are like have been really small time like his name is greenflake and the other side of heaven and Jane and Emma and the chosen that there are like positive ways to. Promote and portray Lds belief in Lds history and and all of that like I feel like we’re good points but I was just had an issue with the tone like and and and it starts with that subheadline that hollywood hasn’t gotten the memo like her her last line in that in the essay is the last None sentences. Yet when it comes to latter-day saints. The entertainment industry seems determined to keep making either disturbing crime films or deeply offensive comedies and again and I agree with that like to make a comedy about the rape of a person is offensive. But then the last line is maybe that says more about hollywood. And it says about the latter day saints and I just have an issue anytime somebody and it well makes like such a general like tries to group and and it’s not just hollywood but just to say like this is the way hollywood is and it’s like oh really, you’re taking like hollywood it just covers.

01:57:16.62
Geoff Openshaw
Mike drop.

01:57:39.77
Jared
So many diverse filmmakers and people who work for filmmakers and so many different diverse like types of media that’s being produced that it’s like Hollywood is evil and all of you know people who make good church related media are good. It’s like I have no use for such generalizations. I feel like it would have been a much more convincing article if she said certain filmmakers who have like very skewed views are not getting the memo or you know are are not you know, behaving well or whatever but to like make this an us versus them sort of argument I just it turns me off. And so I wish that the article had been a little bit more reflective of just how things are that it’s complex that there are people making you know, but the thing is about like the story under the banner of heaven. It’s a true story like and I don’t know how it’s portrayed I haven’t watched it ah that Lula Rich it’s a true story and as we talked about on the. You know so the podcast I was on several months ago I have some insight to that and that there is’s even more to it. That’s like disturbing or unlikable. Ah, you know the the murderer among the mormons story true story like you know it’s its it’s not like they’re unfairly portraying things. It’s just I think there’s probably an imbalance as she points out. Of the bad stuff versus the good. So anyway, but like go ahead, go ahead.

02:00:24.80
Geoff Openshaw
Well I was gonna say well and the bad stuff bad stuff regardless of the the community or the subject in question is what at least as far as screenwriters and producers often feel becomes a more interesting story than.

02:00:47.59
Jared
Right? And totally.

02:01:03.40
Geoff Openshaw
Feel good stories. Regardless their latter-day Saint or not people just don’t they don’t make that kind of stuff and this this is like this is one of the issues that that even Christian Cinema overall runs into right? you can make uplifting stuff but it is It is hard to kind of thread that needle of still making something that can be a compelling. Drama with rich character development. Whatever you’re looking for but still have it be uplifting or have it not lean on like the be like full blown propaganda if that makes sense I don’t even want to call what we do as a church necessarily Propaganda. We’d call it like a missionary tool or an evangelizing tool. Whatever you want to call it.

02:01:54.50
Jared
Ah.

02:02:09.96
Geoff Openshaw
There’s a fine line there in the pro Camp I think that’s hard I don’t expect Hollywood to do that necessarily. But I think that’s hard for the privately funded indie filmmakers who are making the more positive side of it. But for it not to just come up but come off as full blow preachy like how you got to find that balance I don’t I’m not the guy to do that necessarily. But.

02:02:28.33
Jared
You’re right? Well some of the stuff that um, she mentioned um in you know and in her examples of good Lds media is for you know like film etc. Does skirt that line like you know. So for example, the Jane and Emma movie I don’t know if you watched it. But you know Mel Laylan a larson the screenwriter and playwright who produced that you know who created that script she is by no means a propagandist. Ah she you know wrote ah a very.

02:03:24.46
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah.

02:03:31.23
Jared
Thought inspiring movie about the relationship between Jane Manning James and Emma Smith but also that movie very clearly acknowledged. You know some you know issues and and and hardships that you know early saints and especially early saints of color ah endured and so it’s not propaganda. It is a positive story overall about this. Neat relationship that we know existed between these None inspiring women but it’s but on you know, but it’s not propaganda. So I I like again I think she chose some good examples because it’s showing. Yeah, you can have uplifting and more positive depictions of of Lds history and Lds people. But without being like it being a propaganda fill without it being ah a meet the mormons or I’m a mormon campaign type stuff which has its place and I don’t think that’s you know, bad propaganda. Don’t don’t take me as saying that. But my point is like yeah it’s not necessarily like a pro church. You know this is a missionary tool intended type. Media Productions am I am I making sense here.

02:05:36.78
Geoff Openshaw
So yeah, yeah, and if you like if you bring the faith into part of it as the characters because you can make an interesting story that has people who happen to be latter-day saints but you’re not going to like bother to show what their faith is unless that’s relevant to the story somehow and then if they’re making it relevant to the story. Then you fall back into this whole cycle this whole question of like well if is it like they learn a great lesson and then become better latter-day saints because of it and that’s less appealing to a lot of people who are stories and I get that and I’m not going to say she’s totally off like I don’t like the us versus them mentality or the world and all that stuff. But I’m not going to pretend that like a lot of Hollywood is not interested.

02:06:16.71
Jared
Sure. Well. Um, yeah.

02:06:49.30
Geoff Openshaw
And putting down latter-day saints. there’s there’s there’s absolutely a number of producers and people involved to have their sites set on Salt Lake city for sure I mean there’s a reason to do this. Not just entertainment. Yeah.

02:06:41.35
Jared
Yeah.

02:06:56.33
Jared
Sure but but is that the majority and is that like ah, an actual trend like I don’t know about that like it gets a little conspiratorial if you try to make the argument that like that’s what Hollywood does they’re out to get us kind of a thing. So.

02:07:28.32
Geoff Openshaw
So so before we leave this one though I do want to say there’s some comments at the doesre news post I saw the one here I thought was good. No no, no, no most of them are terrible but this one was just some ideas for some reality Tv themes they could pick up then ready for I’m gonna read these four I think these are great cliven and ammon.

02:07:32.65
Jared
Never read the comments Jeff.

02:08:06.62
Geoff Openshaw
Ah, story for rebels is without a clue 2 freeloading government haters fight to bring righteousness to the battle for free cattle grazing on public lands or actually I really like the None one real housewives of the bishopric a show about the glamorous lives of exhausted women whose men aren’t home often enough.

02:08:17.79
Jared
Oh no. Oh my gosh. That’s pretty funny.

02:08:41.22
Geoff Openshaw
The neighbor and the neighbor knows too much a weekly series about interviews with the bishop. The most watched will be the shows of featuring worthiness of soon- to be missionaries.

02:08:51.57
Jared
That’s really funny real quick but again I also have one last thing I wanted to say before we moved on and that is that I think for me part of the answer to this problem that she brings up is that maybe we should It would be helpful or beneficial to.

02:09:04.20
Geoff Openshaw
I Know that.

02:09:23.90
Jared
Have more portrayals of latter-day saints in popular culture movies, etc where they’re there. The fact that they are Latterday Saint isn’t a central point of the plot and the best example that I’m coming up with and and I I don’t know this may alienate some of our listeners but like if any anybody you saw the recent Netflix animated movie.

02:09:47.60
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah, yeah.

02:10:11.60
Geoff Openshaw
I I’ve heard I’ve heard it for about it. But I never said.

02:10:02.79
Jared
Mitchell’s versus the machines. Are you familiar with this? Jeff oh my gosh. It’s so good. Ah it. It makes me laugh out loud very heartily. It’s I think it’s a very clever, really fun, really well done movie and the main character ah is a lesbian but what’s interesting about this is that. It never comes up until the very very very end. There’s like an offhanded comment about wondering if she and another woman are official. You know as far as like being you know, official meaning are are you dating like are you officially an item kind of a thing.

02:11:14.86
Geoff Openshaw
Ah, it’s the Disney approach like having la foff dancing with a man at the end of beauty the beast. Yeah.

02:11:14.21
Jared
Sure but like but let’s not call it the Disney approach because I know a lot of people think Disney’s like somehow has some eve has such has some evil agenda or something like that. My point is like and I read an article that was really interesting and and one of the people who worked on the film. Ah but was also.

02:11:33.92
Geoff Openshaw
And Disney’s 2 woke man I’ve appreciate. Yeah.

02:11:51.11
Jared
It is a lesbian and and she just talked about how she really appreciated the filmmakers coming to her and saying like we were thinking that this this is one of the aspects of this character and we wanted to talk with you about making a film that has a Lesbian has the main character. And she said one of the things she really appreciated was that it it wasn’t like this like really essential. Let’s really delve into and cover how being a Lesbian is this in this aspect of her life and we’ll show that she does these Lesbian things Blah Blah Blah blah but it it was just like here’s a person and she’s involved in this. Drama with her family of having to fight a robot uprising you know the the least the the unlikely Heroes who saved the world from you know robot, uprising etc and it’s just like it and it just so happens that one of the things that makes her character who she is is that she’s a Lesbian and we don’t really have to dwell on that and and so. Drawing back to the original point of this other article and in my point is that like can’t we just have people who are latter-day saints and that’s that’s an aspect of their character It defines who that it is it defines it it informs their actions and their choices, etc, etc. But it’s not like a central aspect of the plot.

02:14:20.32
Geoff Openshaw
Right? Yeah, no I got which mean it would be like if we had it be like a great war movie and some of the soldiers are rubbing their rosary beads in a time of peril and 1 of the guys is rubbing his ctr ring right? there we go. That’s all we need.

02:14:15.39
Jared
You know what? I’m saying.

02:14:29.99
Jared
Right? right? Well I mean and and the only time I will say that I I can think of where I’ve seen this was actually in a Tom Clancy novel ah it was what was the one it was the one where that like goes back and it kind of gives you the the origins of Clark um. Without remore. No anyway, whatever it was ah it’s it’s a flashback. Not one of his flashback novels and it gives you the yeah the origin story of Clark the the cia into features prominently in a lot of Tom Clancy’s stories. Anyway, there was a character who is a pow in Vietnam and he was lds. And like and again he used that point to make some points about like his aversion to alcohol or you know his sense of duty things like that. But the fact that he was Lds wasn’t like central and essential to the plot and it didn’t like make a comment one way or another about.

02:16:13.60
Geoff Openshaw
I Yeah yeah wasn’t said yeah.

02:16:18.69
Jared
What it means is a good or a bad thing, etc, etc to be Lds and I and I thought Clancy actually handled that well and I appreciated seeing my faith depicted in a character who is central to the plot of the book without it being like making any overall commentary or judgments about. Who the lds people are etc. So I think I don’t I would like to see more of that and I think that’s a partial answer to the problem that she raises here.

02:17:14.40
Geoff Openshaw
But the problem with that one is then that guy moved to San Fernando Valley and started to dojo for some reason and just was really mean to the kids really just like warped him up and what all right? Well fine.

02:17:27.70
Jared
You’re you’re conflating that. That’s not a Tom F fansy story. That’s a cry Good story.

02:17:50.78
Geoff Openshaw
Ah, real quick I think the sisters touched on this one last week but um, ah Andy larrsen out of the Salt Lake tribune some cool data dumps here basically talking about the loss of members share. We talk about the church is growing. That’s true. The church is growing. It’s growing differently at different paces than certain parts of the world. Um. But if you really look at he looked at 40 years of state by state official church membership figures reports starting in 1983 that every two years from 87 to 99 than every year from twenty 2000 to 2021 with of course a break because of the pandemic. Um, there’s some intriguing trends. He says we’re growing at a rate. Less than it was five or ten years ago in the us I think we’ve talked about that Utah membership is growing more consistently and linearly as is the membership in Idaho and Arizona while some places like California Colorado and Wyoming have seen stagnant membership rates. So here’s one of the things I’ll up Utah’s growth and they brought this up in the bednar q and a that we referenced earlier by the way. So the church added 42000 members in the United States over the past two years by like baptism we assume out of that 34000 of them have come from Utah so across the whole rest of the us only 8000 people joined the church in the two years forgot what the question was tell her bednar but essentially like like that’s interesting for sure you expect this out of Utah but you realize things are not happening elsewhere perhaps as well as they could be um, which I find I find very interesting I mean obviously I think things are definitely slowing down. Elsewhere in the church and the big question of course is are we looking at actual net losses like California disorganized like None stakes last year a lot of people have left are we getting to a point that like is it declining like he says in California California lost about None residents between 2021 and 2022 about a none of them died from covid but others moved out of the state for whatever those reasons are and to dissect that on this podcast is not our purpose but um, and there’s interactive charts on this by the way that we can’t read right now because we are looking at a read review version of the Salt Lake tribune because I won’t pay the money and that’s a story for another time as well. But um. That’s right I won’t pay the $3 a month Peggy Fletchers Stack I’m sorry I will not do it have a better website and maybe and maybe she listens to everything I say I am her muse. What’s curious though is she looked at places like South Dakoed Washington Dc and Arkansas

02:22:13.79
Jared
She’s not listening to you stop talking to her.

02:22:43.28
Geoff Openshaw
Huge boons in the share of the community which is really interesting I don’t know what’s going on quite in South Dakota Dc I think is seen some good growth. But this refers to Dc proper of course not just like if the Northern Virginia suburbs are doing fine that’ll get that’s Virginia reporting um Arkansas makes some sense. The church has grown a lot in northwest Arkansas like Bentonville Rogers area where they’re getting a.

02:23:11.75
Jared
Oh.

02:23:23.60
Geoff Openshaw
Now. Um, overall I think it’s curious I love people keeping tabs on this sort of stuff and I do wonder about church and. Growth in the United States flatlining and this speaks to another article. We talked about weeks ago about like whether Africa was like the future of the church. It was projecting whether there would be more units in Africa than in North America

02:23:47.45
Jared
And that came up in the other bitar q and a as well they asked they asked specifically about like the the growth the rapid growth in Africa of the church. So yeah I mean it is a big question.

02:24:19.74
Geoff Openshaw
It’s cool. So it’s like what do we do about North America that I mean this isn’t just this is not a thing just affecting our church religion is on the decline in North America in general and I think we try to put a good face on everything we tout that we are growing. We are growing but the growth rate is.

02:24:36.83
Jared
A lot smaller. It’s like point five percent growth according to the article right? Yeah, it which is still. It’s still growth.

02:24:49.16
Geoff Openshaw
Used to be around 2% is now we’re like sub 1% growth every year. Yeah, it’s very small. Um it is still growth. That’s what I’m saying it is growth and it’s not to say that. Pure numbers matter because I think there were these days back in the 90 s and stuff you know when when the growth rate was much hotter but I don’t know if for attention was what it could be. We’ve heard so many so many little anecdotes about easy baptisms and then people falling away and that’s something I think we’re a little more cautious about now which is good right? don’t. People get baptized unless they are truly ready for it. I’d much rather have point five percent growth if it means the majority of those people are going to stay active in the faith than if we have two percent growth and still only point three percent of them stay in the church then what are we doing like what’s the point. But I hope we can get away as a church from this idea that our growth rate stuff.

02:25:57.43
Jared
Sure.

02:26:33.30
Geoff Openshaw
That we’re always growing this narrative that we’ve kind of leaned on for so many years and I think we we do it to sort of show off how great and wonderful and strong. The church is this wonderful institution a world where religion is declining the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints continues to grow. That’s a narrative we love and we love using it as a talking point.

02:26:59.10
Jared
Yeah.

02:27:12.66
Geoff Openshaw
And I think it’s great. That’s it’s fine but I might be dangerous to do that because it’s not necessarily an indicator of the st actualctu strength of the church and because we’re going to run into what we’re running into now where I don’t know if we might legitimately get into a point where we’re net negative in the United States what could happen.

02:27:30.70
Jared
Yeah I don’t know what so one of the things that I thought about is is reading this article is that I get challenged some of my understanding of this. So I I have a very good friend who lives in the Seattle area where where I grew you know he and I grew up together and ah the steak. So when I was a kid I was. Baptized into the Redmond Washington stake that was our stake and then when I was a youth the growth in my hometown of Kirkland was big enough that they split the Redmond stake and created a Kirkland stake and we at at its high point they had organized up I think None wards in that stake. Ah, no seven because there was also a his spanish- speaking award. So um, anyway, so now that we saw steadily them recombining those wards and then about a year year and a half ago I think about a year ago. They. Ah, dissolved the Kirkland Stak and incorporated it back into the redmon st and then ah just recently they did some reorganization further and reduced ah the number of wards I think in Kirkland is down to like 2 where there used to be None and I asked my friend about this.

02:29:29.88
Geoff Openshaw
No.

02:29:49.45
Jared
And he said and and I said so what’s going on because one of the things one of the issues that area like many areas in the coastal United States is that it’s just not affordable like housing rates have gone up so high that it’s very difficult to purchase a house to you know the cost of living beyond housing also is going up and up and I said so is it that just not affordable and he said. His interpretation was like no, it’s not that it’s not affordable. It’s just that a lot of these members who had been established here their property values have gone up so high that to them. It was more like they were cashing in on their investment and then going someplace that was more affordable either to retire or to raise kids because it’s cheaper or whatever. And so but so his interpretation was no. You know we’re not. It’s not worth. We’re not seeing stagnating and and loss of growth and and shrinkage of of the population of the Lds population because it’s too expensive. It’s because but but they’re moving and and his interpretation is that they’re all going to Utah Idaho

02:31:32.46
Geoff Openshaw
Button.

02:31:43.19
Jared
Right? Because these are yeah they had family there or that’s where they’re originally from or whatever. But.

02:31:54.28
Geoff Openshaw
Well and and I think if I can interject I think that might be another thing too is you’ve got a lot of I think a lot of old guard who’s selling not just because of property values but because their kids though who can’t afford to live back home anymore are moving to Utah Idaho and Arizona and they say you know what? all my kids and my grandkids are never coming back here.

02:32:04.99
Jared
Sure.

02:32:22.33
Jared
Yep.

02:32:31.38
Geoff Openshaw
And so I am going to sell out cash out and I’m going to move to them because I want to see my family and that’s very complicated.

02:32:28.39
Jared
And that but that one was interesting to me is that you know I think okay, so maybe that explains a lot of the loss of growth of the church in western washington but then to say that and therefore they’re all going to utah but like the gross numbers that this article reported for utah. Don’t reflect that so it made me question like so where are they going then if like we know my friend I think has good insight as to why people are leaving like the seattle area or western washington as a whole. But if they’re not all going to utah as he as he predicted or says he understands that where where are they going and so like I think there’s a lot of. I think this this article is really important because it brings up some really important data about church growth or the lack thereof but it also to me it leaves more questions than than it gives us answers and I think maybe that was your point all along but ai just that we don’t know like yeah we know they’re leaving western washington or we know they’re leaving southern california or whatever but where are they going if not, you know why aren’t we seeing and they’re not all moving to washington dc and south dakota and arkansas right? like they they got to be going somewhere else. But yeah so I’m just curious about what what will what we’ll learn in the future regarding this data.

02:34:50.80
Geoff Openshaw
So I think are the churches that the church should implement an exit survey protocol across the United States and it’s not that it’s voluntary. But when people move they fill out an actual form and we ask them. There are reasons for leaving why not get this data. We should do.

02:35:09.99
Jared
Yeah, we should have an actual like a weird like an interesting like sort of church census that gets published like public data um to see like yeah they like see people left here and they ended up there. You know I don’t know sure.

02:35:30.14
Geoff Openshaw
We should so.

02:35:42.20
Geoff Openshaw
Um, well they I mean and they have that I mean obviously because your record if you as long as you move your records. They know they they’ve got they’re tracking that I’m sure but as far as like the qualitative element of it if the why you’re only going to get by asking people directly because your records don’t indicate that.

02:35:51.69
Jared
Right? sure. But yeah, now it is a really interesting question and we continue to see rapid growth in South America in you know the Philippines in Africa. But yeah as we see declines in the other places. Yeah, it makes you say say. Yeah, the big question like you said it is the why like where where are these people going and why are they making these moves.

02:36:52.98
Geoff Openshaw
Yep, all right? We’re running long because this always happens with Jordan I have a good time talking I just want to talk about this great article from Lds Living Betty just want to I just want to have this is my end one then you can have one here. Ah elder gong walked unannounced into a word council and he’ll never know the good he did. This is I this. Ah. I I don’t like articles like this so this is over at Lds living Emily Abel wrote it. It’s fine. So none of all None thing I take issue with is her young single adult ward was meeting a month ago in the new building. The new social hall avenue building in downtown Salt Lake City which we’ve talked about on the show. Beautiful new building. She spends a lot of time saying the building feels like the Ritz Carlton of church buildings.

02:37:54.77
Jared
Am I to understand that there’s no basketball court in this building. She said that the overflow doesn’t have a hoop but does that mean there’s no like C traditional cultural hall where you can play basketball here.

02:38:07.34
Geoff Openshaw
That I guess there’s no.

02:38:20.12
Geoff Openshaw
I I guess not I don’t know I don’t know Anyway, the whole Paragraph’s like honestly it’s so beautiful here you could have your wedding reception in the chapel overflow none of your guests could even realize where they were like this this whole paragraph is unnecessary. It’s completely unnecessary to the point of the story. Okay.

02:38:34.91
Jared
Most of the article is unnecessary.

02:38:53.34
Geoff Openshaw
And I know a lot about unnecessary detail in telling stories because I’d been doing it for 13 years on this podcast. Ah, it’s fun I just that part alone. It’s it’s almost like it’s unnecessary but also like okay so now we’re touting like how this meeting house is like better than other the Ritz Carlton of church buildings. You don’t.

02:38:56.57
Jared
It’s fine. It’s fine.

02:39:28.40
Geoff Openshaw
Write that in a church where we have people who have very we have far more austere Spartan meeting houses elsewhere. That’s the point it does a little bit like look at our beautiful, wonderful gorgeous new meeting house. Oh this is you have to come. It’s so great.

02:39:25.85
Jared
Um, sounds very Ramy-emptim doesn’t it.

02:39:40.19
Jared
And the poor people who built it aren’t allowed inside.

02:39:59.40
Geoff Openshaw
Ah, oh man anyway, so the point was she’s in wordd council and then apparently elder Garrett W Gong his wife thought it was worth it too because last Sunday they just walked unannounced into our ward council meeting this also begs the question because eldie living is not in the business of providing captions with their photos for some reason. But there’s a large photo of a number of young single adults um without elder bedar on the photo as best as I cans youll know he’s right there in the middle. He’s there. He’s hiding. It’s like where’s waldo dude sorry you actually scan around and see him sitting there. Um. I know it’s a ysa award and there can be a lot of callings in ysa awardds for all sorts of purposes. But what is this word council Jared this is a 40 person Wordd council what word council does that.

02:41:11.67
Jared
Well it said that that the one of the you know the the woman that she focuses on later on in this article said she isn’t actually a word council member but she had been invited to attend that. So I wonder if there were a lot of people who were just invited to that session award council for whatever reason.

02:41:48.24
Geoff Openshaw
And oh did someone actually know Elder gong was gonna come then was this actually not a surprise did the powers to be no I don’t know cause I mean I look at this and I’m like there’s always so many callings to go around here people I want just like what is this this Boardd Council is half your board I mean what is happening here.

02:41:49.17
Jared
I Don’t that that I kind of wonder about that I don’t know.

02:42:24.74
Geoff Openshaw
That alone confus me this is why none of them are married. So um I don’t know that to be true elderg gone walked in he talked with him he counseled with them a bit talked about None of my favorite topics. The None words count sell and countil and the difference between the 2 and how that how that relates to us and then she goes on to talk about how she’s looking at this young sister. Who quote began to sat up a little straighter as elder her gong talked I saw her nodding and smiling I saw a change come over her with the meeting was over and elder gong. He left his sister turned to me with excitement more excitement in her voice than I’d ever heard and said actually I have some ideas for a release this I activity and da da da da da da anyway. She’s like staring at the countenance of some girl and they’re making her feel better I I don’t know what the point is.

02:43:40.41
Jared
So there’s a lot of speculative reading of people’s countenances in this article.

02:43:58.44
Geoff Openshaw
Is Emily able I she actual is this just like she does write things. She wrote another article about Kirby Hayborn coming back for a church video and the chosen stuff so she does write she actually wrote the Jenny Doane profile piece from the other week. So this was her word council and elder gong showed up and that’s cool I mean I’ve often wondered what would it be like to have an apostle randomly show up at my sacrament meeting that’d be fun I guess I just don’t I it’s that’s fine. It’s one of these articles that might as well say alder gong walked into a word council and you won’t believe what happens next? it’s buzzfeed people. That what we got out of that one? Oh well. But Jared’s going to take us somewhere even better to to close us out here this week even better. Yeah.

02:45:00.15
Jared
Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is the best way to to close. This isn’t it. So I I just I don’t I don’t think this story merits going into great detail and I’m kind of glad that I don’t know the great details. But. I was telling Jeff so you know I’m a Twitter user and often a lot of the people I follow on Twitter are part of what you would call hashtag mormontwiter or whatever. Um, so that’s what a lot of what dominates my feed is seeing the discussions that go around on Lds Twitter type folk anyway. Ah, so I I I was like I haven’t been on Twitter for a while and I got on the other day and the only thing everyone on Mowwit was talking about was this scandal of mormon tiktokckers in where was it. It was like in draper or.

02:46:34.42
Geoff Openshaw
And and you edit it immediately.

02:46:55.76
Geoff Openshaw
And it it I the whole article makes me assume it’s Dr work. It’s got to be draper or day daybreak

02:46:54.77
Jared
Yeah, somewhere in the Salt Lake valley anyway apparently there’s this whole movement of mormon swingers on Tiktok and ah this and this big drama that exploded when like certain of the mormon swingers. Went too far because they had an agreement that they only they double all the way. But then some of them did and I don’t know guys if you really want to know about this, you can go to pop crush or pop sugar to the some of the hard-hitting journalistic ah entities online that have covered this story. Or you can go to the mormon tiktok or try to find the origin of all the threads on Twitter but my favorite part was when they started naming names of like who’s involved in this scandal and it’s just like I don’t know who these people are but just listen to how mormon their names are Braden and Mckenna. Silver and Victoria Chase and Miranda Hope Connor and Whitney Samuel and Camille that one those last 2 aren’t as much but like yeah Braden and Mckenna like was like oh yeah, if there are any mormon swingers they are named Brayden and Mckenna anyway, it’s just so funny because like if our members.

02:48:53.52
Geoff Openshaw
Who’s still silver What do.

02:49:23.12
Geoff Openshaw
I’m good.

02:49:21.95
Jared
If our listeners don’t know what a swinger is or I don’t want to tell them you can look it up for yourself. You’re a big kid. Um, but it’s just so funny to see this scandal come out and of course if it was going to happen anywhere in the this community it was going to happen in Draper Utah um anyway it’s just so It’s just an interesting thing because usually you don’t see sexual scandal not acknowledged so openly in Lds News um especially yeah, with like multiple copies who apparently have some sort of open swinger type relationship with each other I don’t know it’s it’s just a really weird story and that the fact that it became so prominent on Lds Social Media is just like.

02:50:36.84
Geoff Openshaw
Yeah.

02:50:38.79
Jared
Maybe it just speaks to the fact that we’ve had a relatively slow slow mormon Newsweek.

02:50:52.60
Geoff Openshaw
But we haven’t we’ve been so busy. Um, this reminds me of that one from a few months ago that woman who’s like an a who is an adult has like an only fans page and she’s like but I’m an active member of the church and they don’t understand like.

02:51:06.85
Jared
Oh right.

02:51:30.00
Geoff Openshaw
Something psychologically is going on here and that’s not mine to dissect. But I often wonder about the mentality of people who it’s 1 thing if you just say like oh yeah, like I was like raised mormon or whatever you know there’s play. There’s plenty of people in Utah who might identify culturally and historically with the church but they’re not involved day to day as latter day saints. We don’t in the case of these.

02:51:53.25
Jared
Sure.

02:52:09.90
Geoff Openshaw
Alleged swingers we don’t know what that is but the thing is I’ve bumped into this years ago on the Twitter there was even a mormon swinger’s like Twitter account and I corresponded with them a little bit because this was people who were like active in church people who are openly saying like we are active in church with temple recommends and yet.

02:52:16.10
Jared
Ah.

02:52:48.14
Geoff Openshaw
This the swinging. Um and I was just fascinated by it and I thought about having them on the show but I was telling you before I thought it was like almost too salacious and I didn’t want to legitimize any of it. Um, but but because there’s that’s obviously the big question is just like how.

02:52:57.99
Jared
Great.

02:53:23.32
Geoff Openshaw
Do If you’re not active in the faith and you’re just it’s just a quit then okay, that’s a totally different thing. That’s just a question of what is sexually okay and permissible within you and your spouse and other people. But if you’re a a a. Temple recommend holding or faithful latter-day Saint There’s kind of some significant clauses about chastity and what that entails and things we even covenant in the temple that are very specific about how the sanctity of marriage is also about it’s just you know 1 to 1 and that’s it. There’s not.. There’s not like there’s no way to like talk yourself around it I don’t think that exists.

02:54:13.11
Jared
Ah, right.

02:54:28.38
Geoff Openshaw
And so it fascinates me at least from a subject matter standpoint because I’m like just like I don’t get how you justify this I Think there’s a lot of things in our in our faith in our doctrine elsewhere where you can find Carveouts. You can find different ways to interpret stuff that might work for you I don’t see any wiggle room in the idea of swinging as an active latter-day Saint. I Just I I cannot find the argument for it I could turn myself into knots trying to do it but it does not exist. Also I Just want to congratulate this stupid page on Pop crush for randomly much of these names you mentioned some of them are bolded and hyperlinked and.

02:55:00.73
Jared
Right.

02:55:25.21
Jared
Ah, it does it link to their Tiktok accounts or their.

02:55:40.48
Geoff Openshaw
I think I think they’ve deleted a number of them. It looks like it’s supposed to go to a tag Tiktok count. Maybe everybody did because it goes nowhere. They all go to dead links.

02:55:44.70
Jared
Yeah, well and they acknowledge in the article. That’s one of the things that like is because of proof of the scandal is that so many of these people not only unfollowed each other but maybe even like deleted their accounts and so it’s sort of like the oh I’m you know like they must be guilty of what of what’s being said here because why else would they like just.

02:56:27.86
Geoff Openshaw
Look people if you if you get invited to a party by anyone find out what the nature of the party is None You need to find out for sure as it involve swinging or does it involve multi-level marketing. These are the 2 things you need to have on your radar as a latter day saying if it’s either.

02:56:21.19
Jared
Duck and cover and and delete their accounts.

02:56:45.81
Jared
Are the hosts named names like Braden and Mckenna.

02:57:03.40
Geoff Openshaw
And things like that. Yes, so that’s number one and and the demogra there’s a lot of things you should consider where is it happening is it happening in draper for example, Bell Bat Mostly bad things happen in draper. You should.

02:57:11.53
Jared
That when we were in Alexandria Kelsey got invited to a party. It was like a little gathering. You know it was supposed to be just like a girls’ lunch kind of thing and ended up being an m mlm pitch like it happens everywhere probably we won’t name names here if we’re probably talking about the same thing.

02:57:38.52
Geoff Openshaw
I I think my wife I think my wife was at that same one I think I remember I think I remember hearing about this and I remember my wife came home me and like ah I thought I was just getting to know girls in the war. What it’s.

02:57:48.79
Jared
Ah.

02:58:03.90
Jared
Nope.

02:58:14.12
Geoff Openshaw
So don’t swing everybody don’t swing. It’s not a thing you can’t do it. It don’t don’t if you’re going to look for alternative means of income become an influencer. You don’t need to mlm many more people and there is the name of the show.

02:58:09.23
Jared
And don’t mlm that not that they’re on the same tier of salaciousness.

02:58:32.13
Jared
Influencing leads to swinging Jeff just kidding.

02:58:43.33
Jared
Ah, oh man we have a good time. Don’t we.

02:58:55.66
Geoff Openshaw
Oh we do? Anyway, we’ve run very long this week folks who thought we’d interviewed somebody important but we haven’t just ourselves so anyway, thanks for taking the time to tune in and hope you’ll follow us on all the places of the socials and all those things please support us on Patreon if you haven’t done so already and much love to those of you who do that every month it means a lot and it’s ah, extremely useful for you. And this whole enterprise going Jared. Do you have anything to plug before you want to go.

02:59:31.11
Jared
I don’t I just want to thank you for having me on the show and thanks for indulging my long discussion of cheese at the beginning. That’s why we went an hour and a half just kidding. Okay.

02:59:51.32
Geoff Openshaw
I I that no all told that was actually about 4 minutes so I can’t blame it anyway folks. Thanks for listening in for Jared I’m Jeff appreciate listening to this week of mormons we’ll talk to you later until then have a good week bye.

 

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